Friday 16/01/2015 12:33
Category: Climate change

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David Cameron - unburnable carbon!

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Politicians, policy makers and scientists around the world agree that if we are to avoid catastrophic changes the average global temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 2 °C above the average global temperature of pre-industrial times. Since most greeenhouse gas emissions come from burning fossil fuels, what does this mean for our current energey policies?

New research, published in Nature, gives us the answer. The research calculates how much fossil carbon needs to stay underground for a reasonable chance of avoiding dangerous climate change, and what is the most economical way of achieving this. This 'unburnable carbon' amounts to 88% of global coal reserves, 52% of gas reserves, and 35% of oil reserves that would have to stay underground. To put it another way, at current rates we would have to stop burning coal everywhere in the world in 15 years, gas in 27 years and oil in 26 years.

How does our 'green' coalition government responsd? By easing planning laws so oil/gas companies can frack under our homes without planning consent and by subsidising gas and coal burning power stations to stay operational until 2020 and beyond (through the 'UK Capacity Auction). Great! Well done guys! Good to know that planet is in safe hands.

New Scientist 7 January 2015


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